Thursday, August 02, 2012

GS: Needing to Stay Focused...

I am still in the "debating" mode on if I will start business back up.  Slowly researching, quietly thinking and making notes, even a few quick sketches have made it into a note book.

Granted, I'm not completely focused on this... but Sal attempts to not only keep me focused but make me put a business plan down on paper and stick to it.  So during the day he will IM or email me business articles, images, jewelry articles, etc.  While he sends me great information, he sent one that hit home.

It was a Tech Crunch article titled,

"BaubleBar Raises $4.5M From Accel And Greycroft For Affordable Designer Jewelry."

(Give it a read if you have a minute, it's about 10 sentences.)  It's not so much that the company got so much funding that caught me off guard... it's the price of the jewelry they are offering!  While it is apparent that for these prices the pieces must be mass manufactured overseas, I am still confused by how low the prices are!

$28 for a complicated chain piece?  (Sorry, the link is dead... they must have sold out of it! But here's a link to their site.) Even thought it is made from plated base metal, they labor of linking the chains alone is worth more than the price they are selling it for.  This would probably take multiple trained employees well over an hour to link all of the pieces (and this means working in an assembly line, no counting of chain links to make sure they are spaced evenly, no soldering the links, no buffing out any dents or gouges made by the pliers, etc.)  Honestly, this would probably take me a day to link it all together properly.  So why is it $28?  Well, first off, we have no idea where it's made.  There is no "designer" name attached to it, so there is nobody to research.  Under their FAQ's page there is no mention of where anything is manufactured.

Looking up this type of information it made me realize something... do you know where your jewelry is made?  If you buy a shirt, it will say "MADE IN ____________" on the tag.  When was the last time you bought an expensive piece of jewelry and it had a tag that said where it was made?  Sure, the lobster claw clasp may have "Made in Italy" stamped on it, but most likely it is simply the one component.  And the box may have a "Made in China" sticker, but that is the packaging.  And I'm not talking about "hand made custom" jewelry... that should have a makers mark inside.  So where was your jewelry actually made?  Curious, huh?

Well, while I have you pondering that, the debating on whether or not to reopen continues for me... 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

GS: It's been nearly a year...

It's been a crazy year since I last posted.  Nearly a year of working on our new house, which may not sound exciting... but let me tell you, it has been insane.  But even though I have so much work still to do on the house, I'm beginning to miss my time at the bench and making jewelry. 

So, I'm debating.  Debating on whether or not to open my shop again.  But I need to learn from my mistakes... all of the negatives that made me close my shop in the first place.  And with that, I'm fairly certain that I will not be taking on any custom work.  Between the flux in metal prices, people searching for a "good deal" (and comparing prices for a hand made custom piece with a mass manufactured piece from overseas), and trying to compete with this low ball pricing and losing money on most jobs.  And my work is really good, and my products and time are worth the money.  So, unless you have an incredibly high budget, don't ask for custom work.

I'm looking into designing a small/simple/clean line.  Everything is handmade (by me, in Boston), small pieces that can go from the office to the evening, made from only precious metals (no plating over brass and other base metals), and all for a reasonable price.  And everything will be made in limited editions, signed and numbered.  If I want to make jewelry as art, I might as well treat it like art.

So, after a year away from the bench, I'm a little out of the loop.  I have spent some time researching styles and what is available on the market at the moment.  And there are piles and bunches of jewelery out there.  But something caught my eye this morning.  Not because it is the absolute most creative design (though it is rather darling), but because the description is just hilarious.  

If you read the text, it explains that "true friends are like anchors... they give us something to hold onto, and help us stay afloat."  Ummm, I may be wrong, but anchors do not float.  They sink.  So, if follow this train of thought, if a friend is like an anchor they drag you down.  Really, they should have made a life preserver charm. 

Let's see if I can come up with something a little better than this. 
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